Pick up your cross | Pick up your self esteem

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I have previously written about Rick Warren before here and here. May I suggest you read these posts at some point.

“The Bible says, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self (…)“It is about becoming what God created you to be” (Rick Warren, “The Purpose Driven Life” pg: 19). The passage he quotes is Matthew 16:25. The translation (or paraphrase) is from The Message.

However, the translation Warren uses is The Message, and is a poor one at that, a more correct rendering of Matthew 16:25 is this —

The New King James reads “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

This verse which taken in context, has more to do with our suffering when following our Lord, than how to build our self esteem and finding our own self. Warren has taken the above scripture completely out of context to build a philosophy that man’s self esteem is what God is interested in. Let’s look at the above verse in context shall we, remembering that the Lord was talking to his disciples (we too are His disciples) about his coming suffering.

Mat 16:22-26: And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?

How shall we follow? By becoming a servant and by sacrificing our selves. Before Christ had said this, Peter had advised Jesus to spare himself from the coming suffering. Jesus answered by saying you must deny yourself and lose your life! What does deny yourself and losing your life really mean? Let’s look at what the bible says about sacrifice:

Phi 2:6-7 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.

Matthew Henry: The first call of a disciple was to follow Christ A true disciple of Christ is one that doth follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that comes after Christ, not one that prescribes to him, as Peter now undertook to do, forgetting his place (…) We must deny ourselves absolutely, we must not admire our own shadow, nor gratify our own humour; we must not lean to our own understanding, nor seek our own things, nor be our own end.

We should not be looking for our true self as Warren has asked us to do. But let us look towards the cross to exercise denial of self, so that we shall not boast but in Christ alone. Our flesh and blood looks for the carnal self, it is a battle between the flesh and spirit. Our own self will only lead to our demise and to follow mans wisdom over Gods. Don’t follow your self, but follow only Christ, pick up your cross daily.

Deny oneself in Greek means to deny utterly, that is, disown, abstain: – deny. to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests. Does Warrens insight differ to scripture when he tell us to love ourselves, and to nuture our self esteem.

Warren@Ladies Home Journal March 2005, page 36 “Learn To Love Yourself! Self-esteem still wobbly after all these years? These five simple truths will show you that you don’t need to be perfect to be priceless….Accept yourself…God accepts us unconditionally (Remember he’s talking to unbelievers)…Love yourself…Be true to yourself…Forgive yourself. God doesn’t expect perfection, but he does insist on honesty…Believe in yourself…You can believe what others say about you, or you can believe in yourself as does God, who says you are truly acceptable, lovable, valuable and capable,”

If I was to love myself, then I would become a lover of self, Paul warns against this in 2Tim 3:2.

If I was to accept myself, then I would not have a problem with myself and would not be looking toward where to attain much needed forgiveness.

If I was true to myself, then I would justify my sins because I am truly a sinner.

If I was to forgive myself first, then there would be no room for my need to look towards the forgiveness of God.


5 thoughts on “Pick up your cross | Pick up your self esteem

  1. A fellow believer who I do not associate with anymore gave me a book called The Purpose Driven Life. My friend swore by this book, but after reading just a few pages I began to get large flashing red warning messages in my mind. I saw the error in what Mr. Warren was trying to say, and it is exactly as you have desribed it here: he was putting more emphasis on self than on the Word of God. I mentioned this to my friend and he just waved me away. It was in that moment that I truly “saw” him for the first time; he is one of many “wordly” Christians, relying more on other books and what people think and say instead of living for the Lord and walking according to the Word of God. It was after this that I had to separate myself from him and move on. It was a great pleasure to find this web page and read what you had to say. It confirmed in me what the Lord had already shared about Rick’s “message”. Praise God.


  2. Thanks for your encourging words Doug. I hope you take a look around my blog it can be a little controversial, but I believe that we must speak the truth in all boldness.

    Take care



  3. Here is an interesting post by a blogger called damascus, the post title is called …another gnostic gospel??? He is of course talking about another writer McLaren and his book ‘The Secret Message of Jesus’… he is another teacher you should stay clear of.  I haven’t checked out the rest of the blog but found this to be a good review and an honest one. He says this:

    The only outright critique I make of the book is that McLaren describes something that has been proclaimed for 2,000 years as ‘secret;’ he paints the gospel as ‘hidden,’ even going so far as to imply in his Appendix I entitled Why Didn’t We Get It Sooner that the Church lost the message of Jesus sometime before the end of the second century and we have just regained the proper understanding of it in this most recent generation. I had the unfortunate timing to read this Appendix while I was about halfway through the book. I was immensely excited by the direction the book was taking and then, while perusing the endnotes, came across the Appendix. I did not know how to react. Anger, sorrow, disgust… The Appendix colored my reading of the rest of the book. In fact, I don’t know that I will be able to read McLaren again in the same light (without some sort of retraction).


  4. You’re talking so much about what others do wrong… so much about what you think is right


  5. Rick Warren uses poor exegesis, and interprets the Word of God out of context. The bible is to be understood within its context.

    He also uses the a very poor translation that has hints of pantheism in it. A very New Age version.

    Definition of Pantheism according to Warren Smith a former New Ager…

    New Age teachings and studying A Course in Miracles, I was taught that the concept of ‘Oneness’ is inextricably linked to the understanding that God is ‘in’ everything.”

    Pantheism in the New Century Version…

    “The Bible says, ‘He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything. Ephesians 4:6’

    What the bible actually says in context that God is in all who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit…. Warren takes it completely out of context…

    Eph 4:1-6 Then I, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to walk worthily of the calling in which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, the One above all and through all and in you all.

    and in you all; which is to be understood, not of his being in his creatures, by his powerful presence, which is everywhere supporting them; but of the gracious union there is between him and his people, and of his gracious inhabitation in them by his Spirit. Gill

    Remember a verse taken out of context is always a pretext.


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